UFC Fight Night Report: Sean Strickland defeats Uriah Hall by decision

Originally published at UFC Fight Night Report: Sean Strickland defeats Uriah Hall by decision

UFC Fight Night Report: Sean Strickland defeats Uriah Hall by decision

By: Eric Marcotte

The UFC held a Fight Night card from the Apex Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday evening, going head-to-head with Bellator 263. The card was headlined by a bout between ranked middleweights, Uriah Hall and Sean Strickland. With four consecutive victories, Uriah Hall was riding the hottest streak of his UFC career, and a win over Strickland would move him one step closer to finally reaching title contention. For Strickland, his return to middleweight has brought him success, and beating Hall would theoretically move him into a top ten slot in the division. Cheyanne Buys and Gloria de Paula were moved into the co-main event slot after Rani Yahya tested positive for COVID-19, and was forced to withdraw from his fight against Kang Kyung-ho.

Brendan Fitzgerald provided commentary for this card alongside Michael Bisping and Paul Felder. Performance of the Night bonuses went out to Melsik Baghdasaryan and Cheyanne Buys. Fight of the Night honors were awarded to Jason Witt and Bryan Barberena.

QUICK RESULTS:

*Phil Rowe def. Orion Cosce by TKO at 4:21 of Round 2

*Zarrukh Adashev def. Ryan Benoit by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

*Jinh Yu Frey def. Ashley Yoder by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

*Danny Chavez vs. Kai Kamaka III resulted in a Majority Draw (27-29, 28-28, 28-28)

*Chris Gruetzemacher def. Rafa Garcia by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

*Jason Witt def. Bryan Barberena by Majority Decision (28-28, 29-27, 29-28)

*Melsik Baghdasaryan def. Collin Anglin by TKO at 1:50 of Round 2

*Jared Gooden def. Niklas Stolze by KO at 1:08 of Round 1

*Cheyanne Buys def. Gloria de Paula by TKO at 1:00 of Round 1

*Sean Strickland def. Uriah Hall by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 49-46)

PHIL ROWE (7-3, 173.5) VS ORION COSCE (7-0, 170.5) – WELTERWEIGHT

Rowe missed weight by 2.5lbs and was fined 20% of his purse.

Cosce began the fight with a pair of kicks, before pushing Rowe to the cage. He tripped Rowe to the ground and began to work from half guard. Rowe defended well and made it back to his feet, but was caught by an uppercut and immediately brought back to the cage. Cosce was largely able to control Rowe for the remainder of the round. 10-9 Cosce.

Cosce did not deviate from his game plan in the second round, but this time Rowe was able to break away from the clinch, and landed a series of hard body shots before accidentally catching Cosce low with a kick. When the action resumed, Rowe rocked Cosce with a 1-2, and swarmed him, looking for the finish. They brawled wildly, as a hurt Cosce attempted to return fire, but ultimately, Rowe was able to take over with knees to the head from the clinch, and finally dropped him with a right hand that ended the fight.

WINNER: Phil Rowe by TKO at 4:21 of Round 2

After the opening round, this was looking like Cosce’s fight to lose, but the momentum swung quickly, and Rowe took over in the second round. He seemed to have the advantage in the striking department, and his height allowed him to really abuse Cosce in the Thai-clinch. This was Rowe’s second fight in the UFC, and he is now 1-1 in the promotion.

ZARRUKH ADASHEV (3-3, 125.5) VS RYAN BENOIT (10-7, 126) – FLYWEIGHT

There were some heavy exchanges in the first minute that Adashev seemed to get the better of. Benoit was putting a lot into his shots, but Adashev just seemed to be a bit quicker in those early exchanges. A leg kick from Adashev really bothered Benoit, and his movement was looking off following the strike. Just when Adashev was starting to take over, Benoit dropped Adashev hard with a right hand. Benoit followed him down in an attempt to finish the fight, but Adashev was able to pop up and seemed to recover before the end of the round. Tough round to score, but I gave it to Adashev despite the knockdown.

Adashev continued to be a step ahead on the feet and attacked that hurt leg of Benoit. The referee, Mark Smith, was closely examining Benoit throughout the round, making it clear to Benoit that he needed to keep moving to stay in this fight. This round was pretty clear for Adashev in my opinion, and I had him up 20-18 going into the third.

Despite the damage to Benoit’s leg, he continued to press forward in pursuit of a finish. Adashev kept on the backfoot and attempted to counter Benoit as he moved forward. I thought Benoit was able to take this final round with his forward pressure and aggression, resulting in a scorecard of 29-28 Adashev.

WINNER: Zarrukh Adashev by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

This fight was closer than the scorecards may indicate. I think there is a very good case for Benoit taking that first round after the late knockdown, and the third round with his pressure, but none of the judges saw it that way, and Adashev got his arm raised. It was a solid performance from Adashev, who picked up his first UFC win here after dropping his first two fights in the promotion.

JINH YU FREY (10-6, 115.5) VS ASHLEY YODER (8-7, 116) – STRAWWEIGHT

Frey sort of trapped Yoder in the clinch early, landing a series of punches to the side of the head before Yoder was able to separate. Frey stunned her with a solid left hand and tripped her to the ground at one point before allowing her to return to the feet. I thought this was a solid five minutes for Frey, who took the opening round on my scorecard.

Frey hurt Yoder with a pair of left hands in the opening minute of the second round. Yoder attempted to take Frey down but found no success, and the fight continued on the feet. Frey’s straight left hand was doing damage every time it landed, and Yoder was falling behind on the scorecards. Yoder began to land some left hands of her own in the final minute, but it wasn’t enough to steal back the round. 20-18 Frey.

The third round was, in my opinion, the closest of the bunch. The striking seemed to be fairly even, and neither woman landed any sort of round deciding shot. It came down to who’s offense you found more effective, and for me at least, that was still Frey, who took this fight 30-27 on my scorecard.

WINNER: Jinh Yu Frey by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

Frey seemed to have a bit more power in her hands, and that was largely the difference maker in this fight. Yoder was never out of this fight, but that left hand from Frey did some damage, and she wasn’t really able to equal that effect with her own offense. After starting her UFC run 0-2, Frey has complied back-to-back wins, really getting her back on track in the women’s strawweight division.

DANNY CHAVEZ (11-4, 145.5) VS KAI KAMAKA III (8-4, 144.5) – FEATHERWEIGHT

After a brief feeling-out process, Chavez changed levels for a takedown, in which Kamaka popped right back up from. Chavez threw a number of leg kicks, prompting Kamaka to respond with a few of his own. This wasn’t really a round that either fighter stood out in, but I thought Kamaka took it with the power he was putting behind his shots. 10-9 Kamaka.

The fight continued at a fairly even pace into the second round. There were a lot of feints from both men, resulting in a degree of hesitation from both of them. Kamaka caught Chavez with a particularly brutal eye poke, which caused Chavez to fall to the ground, writhing in pain. The doctor was brought into the cage to check on him, and it was ultimately ruled that Chavez could continue. Herb Dean issued Chavez a hard warning, stating that he would take a point if any more fouls were committed. The action resumed, and right on cue, Kamaka caught Chavez with a low blow, and a point was deducted from Kamaka as a result of this. There were some heavy exchanges when the fight finally resumed, and while both men landed some hard shots, once again, I thought Kamaka took this round. With the point deduction taken into account, I had the fight at 19-18 for Kamaka.

Kamaka began the third round with a nice combination before they began to battle in the clinch against the cage. Kamaka was the aggressor, landing strong shots as he pressed Chavez against the cage. Chavez caught Kamaka with some elbows as Kamaka pursued a takedown before they finally separated with a minute left. Chavez attempted a takedown of his own, but Kamaka defended the attempt, and the round ended with a brief flurry from Chavez. I scored the fight 29-27 for Kamaka.

Result: Majority Draw (27-29, 28-28, 28-28)

While I saw the fight for Kamaka, I took no issue with the result here. The first and third rounds were relatively close, and the one round that I thought Kamaka clearly one, round two, he also had a point deducted due to the fouls. They were both very disappointed by the result, and you could hear one of the coaches yelling “run it back” in the background. I don’t think that would be the worst idea, as this was certainly a somewhat unsatisfying result of this fight.

CHRIS GRUETZEMACHER (14-4, 156) VS RAFA GARCIA (11-1, 154) – LIGHTWEIGHT

A left hook from Garcia staggered Gruetzemacher early, and he swarmed in to finish Gruetzemacher against the cage. Despite taking a lot of hard shots, Gruetzemacher was able to recover, and quickly got back to his feet after a brief takedown from Garcia. They began to trade in the pocket, and they actually appeared to knee each other in the groin simultaneously. The action wasn’t paused for long, and in the final minute of the round, Gruetzemacher made up a lot of ground as he went on the attack, really digging into the body. 10-9 Garcia.

Gruetzemacher continued to move forward in the second round, and Garcia was looking slightly overwhelmed by Gruetzemacher’s pressure. Garcia was able to reset the fight at a more manageable pace following a successful takedown. Gruetzemacher made it back to his feet quickly, but Garcia was able to press him against the cage for about a minute before Gruetzemacher was able to break away. Gruetzemacher’s body shots looked brutal, and I thought he took this round fairly decisively. 19-19.

After another strong start for Gruetzemacher, Garcia was able to take him down and keep him there, racking up a solid couple of minutes of control time. Gruetzemacher was eventually able to make it back to his feet, and he landed a strong uppercut before they really began to just trade in the pocket. Garcia took Gruetzemacher back down and was able to keep him from getting off any more significant offense before the fight’s conclusion. Tough round to score, but I gave the edge to Gruetzemacher. 29-28 Gruetzemacher.

WINNER: Chris Gruetzemacher by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

This was a very solid fight, with both fighters having their moments throughout this fifteen-minute slugfest. Garcia began the fight strongly with the knockdown, and he almost secured the final round with his takedowns, but the damage and activity from Gruetzemacher ultimately outweighed those takedowns to earn Gruetzemacher the nod here. Gruetzemacher improved to 3-3 in the UFC with this win.

BRYAN BARBERENA (15-7, 170.5) VS JASON WITT (18-7, 170.5) – WELTERWEIGHT

Witt secured an easy takedown about ninety seconds into the fight. He tried to work his way to Barberena’s back for some time but was unsuccessful, and the fight returned to the feet with just over a minute remaining in the round. He took Barberena down one more time to end the round on top. 10-9 Witt.

Barberena was able to land some solid shots early in the second. Witt briefly sat Barberena down with a quick combination, before he proceeded to take him down with a double leg in the middle of the octagon. Barberena worked his way back to his feet, but this time he was dropped properly by a counter right hand. Witt jumped on a guillotine, but couldn’t finish it, and Barberena recovered once again. This was a very strong round from Witt, and it felt as though all of the momentum was on his side heading into the third. 20-18 Witt.

The third round started slowly, but that didn’t last for long. Barberena pressed forward and rocked Witt badly with a quick hook. Witt was hurt badly, but he had it in him to fire back, and attempted a takedown to get the fight back to the ground. He was successful, but Barberena escaped to his feet, and that’s where this round really got wild. Barberena shrugged off another takedown attempt, and just began to swing wildly at Witt’s head. Barberena landed a left hand, and I thought Witt was out, but he somehow powered to his feet and dragged Barberena back to the ground. Barberena looked exhausted, but he was able to get back to his feet once again, and he just knocked Witt’s mouthpiece right out, as he swarmed forward looking for the finish. Witt looked as though he was on another planet, but he made it to the end of the round, as Brendan Fitzgerald declared that he needed a cigarette. I scored the fight 29-28 for Witt, but this could have easily been a 10-8 round for Barberena as well.

WINNER: Jason Witt by Majority Decision (28-28, 29-27, 29-28)

After a lackluster opening round, this fight really picked up, and the final round may have been a contender for round of the year. You could make a case for round two being 10-8 in favor of Witt, and you could make the same case for Barberena in the third round. The resiliency these two showed despite being dropped multiple times was remarkable, and this was pretty much a lock for fight of the night. Witt improved to 2-2 in the UFC with this win.

COLLIN ANGLIN (8-1, 146) VS MELSIK BAGHDASARYAN (5-1, 145.5) – FEATHERWEIGHT

Baghdasaryan was throwing heavy hands from the very beginning of this fight. He was throwing lightning-quick kicks with very little setup as well. Anglin was able to relieve the pressure by taking Baghdasaryan to the ground but was unable to hold him there for a significant portion of time. Baghdasaryan landed some hard left hands against the cage, and he hurt Anglin badly with one, ending the round strongly.

Less than two minutes into the second round, Baghdasaryan just decked Anglin with a perfect head kick, and Anglin stumbled to the ground before Baghdasaryan finished the fight with a single follow-up hammerfist.

WINNER: Melsik Baghdasaryan by TKO at 1:50 of Round 2

This was a remarkable head kick finish for Melsik Baghdasaryan in his UFC debut. Baghdasaryan is an accomplished kickboxer, and you could really see that background in his striking style. This guy hits hard, and if his takedown defense holds up against higher-level wrestlers, he could be a problem for fighters in the featherweight division. Despite his lengthy amateur kickboxing career, he is still relatively young at 29 years of age, so he has plenty of time to make an impact in the UFC.

NIKLAS STOLZE (12-4, 170.5) VS JARED GOODEN (16-7, 171) – WELTERWEIGHT

Gooden lifted Stolze up into the air before slamming him down in the opening minute. Stolze quickly got to his feet, but he ate a clean right hand that knocked him down, and a singular follow-up that ended the fight.

WINNER: Jared Gooden by KO at 1:08 of Round 1

Gooden didn’t even load up on that right hand, but it landed clean, and the fight was over from the moment it touched Stolze’s chin. This was just a brutal knockout, and exactly what Gooden needed after dropping his first two fights (with tough opponents) in the UFC. Gooden took this fight on a few days’ notice, and it was almost canceled day-of due to COVID protocols, but everything ultimately came together perfectly here for Gooden, who delivered an entertaining and expletive-filled post-fight interview.

CHEYANNE BUYS (5-2, 116) VS GLORIA DE PAULA (5-3, 115.5) – STRAWWEIGHT

Buys secured a takedown early. While De Paula was able to push her off, De Paula just ate a clean head kick as she attempted to return to her feet that dropped her hard and Buys finished the fight on the ground with a number of brutal left hands.

WINNER: Cheyanne Buys by TKO at 1:00 of Round 1

This was a vicious knockout win for Buys, who timed that kick perfectly as De Paula attempted to get back to her feet. A series of cancelations brought this fight into the co-main event slot and Buys really made the most of this opportunity here, picking up a highlight-reel knockout. After losing her UFC debut, this was a fantastic way to rebound, and move her on up in the talent-stacked strawweight division. In her post-fight interview, Buys made it clear that she was willing to return to the octagon as soon as possible.

URIAH HALL (17-9, 185.5) VS SEAN STRICKLAND (23-3, 185) – MIDDLEWEIGHT

Both fighters were active with their jab in the opening round, but it was Strickland who seemed to be landing at a more frequent rate. They exchanged hard right hands, and Strickland began to press forward, almost landing at will. Hall was keeping Strickland honest with his power, but by and large, Strickland was controlling this fight with his boxing. 10-9 Strickland.

Strickland landed a solid combination that backed Hall up early in the second round. Hall recovered well and began to move forward, tagging Strickland with his jab while putting him on the backfoot. Strickland caught Hall with a low blow in the final minute, but Hall did not take much time to recover. While I thought Hall looked good throughout this round, it was still very close, and the opening flurry from Strickland was enough for me to give him the edge. 20-18 Strickland.

Strickland landed a right hand that hurt Hall badly, and he immediately took him down. Hall was shelling up on the ground, as Strickland threw down numerous strikes in an attempt to finish the fight. Hall was able to wrap him up and avoid the finish, but this was a very tough round for Hall, who was dominated throughout the final three minutes of the round. 30-26 Strickland.

Hall was still looking a bit off as he prepared for the fourth round. Strickland was really pulling ahead on the stat sheet offensively, and Hall wasn’t giving Strickland too much to think about. With just over a minute remaining in the round, Strickland hurt Hall yet again, and it looked as though Hall was in deep trouble, but Strickland shot for a takedown, which gave Hall the time he needed to recover. Still, this was another strong round for Strickland, who was clearly ahead going into the fifth round. 40-35 Strickland.

Strickland continued to have the edge in the final round, although Hall was doing his best to turn the fight into the brawl, in pursuit of a desperately needed finish. Both fighters were just tagging each other in exhausted exchanges, with Strickland racking up some control time against the cage as well. The fight went the distance, and I scored it 50-44 for Sean Strickland.

WINNER: Sean Strickland by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 49-46)

While Hall had his moments in the early rounds, this fight became progressively more one-sided in favor of Strickland as time wore on. Strickland looked sharp on the feet (as you would expect), and he never really let Hall get comfortable, constantly throwing out his jab and straight right to keep Hall on the backfoot. Strickland has looked great since moving up to middleweight, and with this win, he should move into a top ten spot in the division. Personally, I think a fight against Jack Hermansson would be very interesting, but there is really no shortage of opponents for Strickland to face now that he’s reached the middleweight elites.

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